Tuesday, July 8, 2014

War Over The Documents

Time was, people could both read plain English and could recognize (and would jeer aside) an attempt to distort it. But time was, people were both better educated and less disgusted with politics than they are today.

A quick question for you, Gentle Reader: In Constitutionally enumerating and separating the powers of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the federal government, what purpose or purposes were the Founding Fathers trying to serve?

The readers of Liberty's Torch are bright enough and erudite enough to have no trouble with that one. But there are some supposedly smart people writing for major periodicals that would contradict you:

In the May issue of the Boston University Law Review, Joseph R. Fishkin and William E. Forbath of the University of Texas School of Law show that at key turning points in our history (the Jacksonian era, the Populist and Progressive moments and the New Deal), opponents of rising inequality made strong arguments “that we cannot keep our constitutional democracy — our republican form of government — without constitutional restraints against oligarchy and a political economy that maintains a broad middle class, accessible to everyone.”

Their article is called “The Anti-Oligarchy Constitution,” though Forbath told me that he and Fishkin may give the book they’re writing on the topic the more upbeat title “The Constitution of Opportunity.” Their view is that by empowering the wealthy in our political system, Supreme Court decisions such as Citizens United directly contradict the Constitution’s central commitment to shared self-rule.

“Extreme concentrations of economic and political power undermine equal opportunity and equal citizenship,” they write. “In this way, oligarchy is incompatible with, and a threat to, the American constitutional scheme.”...

The idea of a Constitution of Opportunity is both refreshing and relevant. For too long, progressives have allowed conservatives to monopolize claims of fealty to our unifying national document. In fact, those who would battle rising economic inequalities to create a robust middle class should insist that it’s they who are most loyal to the Constitution’s core purpose. Broadly shared well-being is essential to the framers’ promise that “We the people” will be the stewards of our government.

Note the Leftist shibboleths in that passage: "inequality," "oligarchy," "concentrations of economic and political power." These will appear in virtually any tirade that emanates from the Left. Marx was handy with them. So was Lenin. Yet of this you may be very sure: E. J. Dionne has absolutely no objection to any of those things...as long as they're in the hands of people whose views he approves.

"Inequality" has been the goal of every Leftist policy advanced since Woodrow Wilson. the idea is to make an increasing fraction of Americans beholden to the federal government for their material sustenance...if possible, all the way down to food, clothing, and shelter. "Oligarchy" is what we have now: absolute power by a small group, concentrated in Washington D.C., over all Americans and all American enterprise. As for "concentrations of economic and political power," Dionne himself should have recognized that as a belly-laugher. Which is the richest district per capita in these United States? What is the average net worth of a United States Senator? And who has done more to concentrate political power in a single man's hands than Barack Hussein Obama?

Yet Dionne claims the notion of a "Constitution of Opportunity" -- the idea that the federal government exists to create prosperity by positive action rather than to protect the rights of the citizenry -- is more compatible with the Founders' vision than the conservative view of it as a bill of limitations on the mandarins in Washington. Well, he's been spouting this sort of nonsense for a long time now. I have a book of his titled Why Americans Hate Politics, published in 1991, that's chock-full of similar bilge.

PJ Media's Ed Driscoll destroys Dionne and his fellow-travelers with a single sentence:

It’s tough for “Progressives” to reclaim something they’ve spent the better part of five years openly attempting to jettison.

After all, less than two years ago "constitutional law professor" Louis Seidman argued openly that the Constitution is being ignored and should be ignored. To this point Driscoll adduces this pithy exchange between law professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds and economics professor Russ Roberts:

REYNOLDS: Oh, well, then I’m free to do whatever I want! And actually, that is a damning admission, because what that really says is: If you believe Seidman’s argument; if you believe that we already ignore the Constitution anyway, then in fact, the government rules by sheer naked force, and nothing else. And if that’s what you believe, then all of this talk of revolution suddenly doesn’t seem so crazy, it seems almost mandatory.

ROBERTS: Well, he would say – well, I won’t speak for him, but some would say that, well, there’s a social contract, we’ve all agreed to kind of play by these rules…

REYNOLDS: Oh really?!

ROBERTS: …of electing officials, and…

REYNOLDS: Well, the rules I agreed to electing these officials are the Constitution. I thought we were going to ignore that. That’s my social contract.

The interesting thing about Dionne and the article he cites isn't any novelty of insight or special penetration of logic; it's the reason for the argument they make:

The Constitution of the United States explicitly forbids nearly every element of the Leftist agenda.

Conservatives have been making headway in promoting the Constitution, noting its ties to the principles expressed in the Declaration of Independence, and raising general awareness of the "progressives'" destruction thereof. The process is gradually restoring Americans' sense for our libertarian heritage. This alarms the Left like nothing else in our national discourse.

So the Left has decided to wrest the Constitution away from us -- to turn it to leftists' purposes.

That is, leftists have decided to try. Which is why refreshing one's knowledge of the Constitution, and arguing from its text and nothing else is the order of the day...if you're not yet completely burned out from previous efforts, that is.

It's not possible, if one sticks to the text, to claim that the document authorizes an Omnipotent State, nor that it embeds at its core the notion that the federal government exists to oppose "inequality" or create "opportunity." The only way to make such assertions is to obscure the carefully phrased, closely fought text and prattle instead about what the Founding Fathers "must have intended" -- and then to obfuscate the meanings of terms such as "inequality," "oligarchy," and "concentrations of economic and political power." That's the heart of the Fishkin / Forbath project, which Dionne heartily endorses.

I will repeat this once more:

"The Constitution is the supreme law, the foundation for all other law. If it doesn't mean exactly what its text says—the public meanings of the words as ordinary people understand them—then no one can possibly know what it means. But if no one can know what the Constitution means, then no one can know whether any other law conforms to it. At that point, all that matters is the will of whoever's in power. And that's an exact definition of tyranny."

Consider this also, from novelist Lois McMaster Bujold:

"Egalitarians adjust very well to aristocracies, as long as they get to be the aristocrats."

If ever there was a gaggle of power-mongers determined to become an American aristocracy, it's our "progressives"...and they've made a disturbing start on the project.

On this front in our political wars, there can be no holding actions and no compromise. The life of the Republic is at stake. It will be victory or death.


T. Paine said...

Liberals/progressives tirelessly work long hours coming up with ways to reinterpret the Constitution. Why is that? I submit that the answer to that question is profoundly simple. They have to simply because the Constitution is straight forward and easily understood by even the most average of Americans. It's hard work indeed to redefine common knowledge.

RichJ said...

With regard to life of the Republic in this world... if we are lucky it will be just 4GW and years of suffering for us and our progeny.

More darkly, this is a global problem. Were it only our Republic at stake, that would be a blessing.

This reminds me of the last Sunday's sermon on who is qualified to rule a global government. Clearly the problems here on earth are global the speaker proffered.

As a man of faith, you know the answer: the only team with that credential doesn't live here, yet knows everything we do.

The remnant... I am working hard to find a spot on that roster. In the mean time, keep your shield up and sword and pen sharp.

As you often say, may God help us all.

KG said...

I linked to this piece over at my place, with the comment
"This is the hinge upon which the fate of the Republic swings. Lose this, lose the Republic."
Will the electorate realise that? I doubt it.

Ronald Barbour said...

Your arguments are well made, sir!

I agree with you - and I've said so for many years - the main objective of the American Left is to destroy the Republic.

Since this is the case and they have been proven to have drawn the all important "First Blood" - we patriots, in defense of the constitution, are authorized to destroy them.

In fact, it is our patriotic duty to see to this complete destruction, as in the past half measures have gotten us nowhere.

Election and petitions of redress have are useless in this struggle - the time of Iron and Blood has come again.

William Stout said...

Federalist 10 describes the negative effect of factionalism, yet the left has found it's way around our Constitutional protections. They first began in the public school system and subverted young minds. They next appointed like minds to the Federal bench and began writing laws in competition with the legislature. Today, we now have debates on issues that were long settled by our founders because of these two attacks on American freedom.

Wilson hated the Constitution, as does Obama. They hate it because it limits their power. When faced with opposition by the people's house, Obama said that he has a pen and he has a phone. His meaning was clear, he does not mind ruling by executive fiat. It isn't hard to reason why they left hates the U.S. Constitution. As you have so ably pointed out, it directly contradicts their every political position, and so they must negate it.

Expect one day for there to be calls for another Constitutional convention. If it should ever happen, it will spell the doom of freedom within the United States, and douse the light of liberty for the world.

KG said...

"If it should ever happen, it will spell the doom of freedom within the United States, and douse the light of liberty for the world."

DAN III said...

Here's the problem with the Constitution....it sanctions no one for violating it. No punishment. No time in jail. No march to the gallows. No back against the wall. No blindfold offered.

Soetoro-obama has violated the Constitution numerous times, starting with Article 2, Section 1, Clause 5. What has Congress done ? NADA. Nothing. Zip.

I fear the country is doomed. Looking to the Constitution provides answers. But no sanctions. No sanctions. No punishment. No punishment. No corrections.

It. Is. That. Simple.

AGoyAndHisBlog said...

Most likely it'll be deleted from the WP, so I'll just repeat the comment here...


Eh... the so-called "progressives" who infest the Democrat Party and a good portion of the GOP CLAIMED the Constitution a long time ago. Claimed, that is, the illegitimate authority to follow it, not follow it, protect it, ignore it, defend it, abuse it... whatever. This is exemplified by a Congress that legislates well beyond its Constitutional mandate, a SCOTUS that provides the federal government with the "authority" to define the limits of the federal government's authority, and an Executive that picks and chooses which duly passed legislation it will enforce on one hand, while literally writing law via extra-constitutional adminstrative "regulations" on the other.

If there were any genuine fealty to the Constitution ANYWHERE in our federal government, it wouldn't be systematically usurping authority over every aspect of American life.

Here's the thing about oligarchy: we've had one, non-stop, since 1865.

When the Republican Form of Government guaranteed to every State was rendered effectively null and void - beginning with Lincoln's decision to grant himself the authority to provoke and wage war on American civilians, and ending with the Fundamental Transformation (tm) of the Republic into a de facto empire ruled by D.C. - an oligarchy was established that has ruled the States and their citizens ever since, with the lingering threat of military force as the stick, and the illusion of 'democracy' as the carrot.

Virtually ALL of the "ills" described in the Forbath memo are a direct result of oligarchy-run-amok, as it relentlessly institutionalizes cronyism, fraud, misfeasance, waste, corruption and incompetence. Meanwhile it simultaneously cannibalizes what's left of a capitalist, wealth-generating economy to fund a socialist welfare state. That state, once fully established, will end in the same economic collapse, chaos and geopolitical decline as the USSR - for the same reasons.

RE-claim the Constitution?? How pathetically juvenile.

Cal said...

@ DAN III, "Here's the problem with the Constitution....it sanctions no one for violating it. No punishment. No time in jail. No march to the gallows. No back against the wall. No blindfold offered."

You are incorrect, have you not read it? Or is it that the changes those working to destroy our nation from the inside have made within our communities have taken hold in your mind as "factual"?

The first thing you must notice is that the US constitution does not give any of our governments the authority to create governmental professional law enforcement agencies (police) - federal or state.

So who is given that authority? We are, as the Militia of the several states. We keep that duty.

Thomas Jefferson, 1st inaugural, explained that: "a well - disciplined militia" is "our best reliance in peace and for the first moments of war, till regulars may relieve them" and also a guarantee of "the supremacy of the civil over the military authority; [and] economy in the public expense."

"well - disciplined" meant trained, not government controlled.

Each state's Militia is made up of “We the People” protecting our own interests, homes, states, nation, and enforcing our governments. The Militia has as its constitutionally assigned duties to:
- Enforce the US Constitution and each state's Constitution,
- Enforce and keep the “Laws of the Union” (which is constitutional laws ONLY),
- Protect the country against all enemies both domestic and foreign, and
- “to suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions”.

The US Constitution guarantees to each state its own “Republican form of government”. It is every state's Militia that is the ONLY Constitutionally assigned force to “counter Invasions” and “Domestic Violence” within our nation.

Richard Henry Lee: "A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves …"

George Mason, Co-author of the Second Amendment: "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few public officials. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."

“It is always dangerous to the liberties of the people to have an army stationed among them, over which they have no control ... The Militia is composed of free Citizens. There is therefore no danger of their making use of their Power to the destruction of their own Rights, or suffering others to invade them..” Samuel Adams

Tench Coxe: “Who are the militia? are they not ourselves. Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American...The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.”

Joel Barlow, Revolutionary War veteran, wrote “Advice to the Privileged Orders, in the Several States of Europe”; clergyman, theologian, popular poet, successful diplomat, and American whose political writings were debated on the floor of Parliament said of the US Constitution: "… not only permitting every man to arm, but obliging him to arm.” (con't)

Cal said...

Patrick Henry: “The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government."

As Dr Edwin Vieira states in his book “Constitutional “Homeland Security” Volume 1: the Nation in Arms”: “That means "that NONE of those tasks are assigned to the Army, to a Navy, to a (constitutionally unknown) National Guard, or least of all to any unnamed professional police, security, or intelligence agencies of the General Government or of any state or locality. Rather, the Constitution's explicit emphasis on the Militia as the preeminent forces by politicians of a garrison, "national-security", or police state...
So those bound by Oath who "knowingly, with willful blindness, or in reckless disregard of the consequences of his/her action" votes for an unconstitutional act, bill, etc; when a "President or state governor refuses to veto it and instead executes it; or when a Judge, either of the supreme and inferior courts of the general government, or of any state knowingly declares such a statute valid and enforceable - each and every one of them violates his oath of office....
A remedy MUST exist for every individual harmed by each and every violation. That remedy MUST impose some personal liability on the violator - it being his own Oath or Affirmation he himself forswore. And that personal liability cannot be evaded by his or his cronies' assertion of some ersatz official immunity". Dr Edwin Vieira

Dr. Edwin Vieira:
“This has nothing to do with personalities or subjective ideas. It’s a matter of what the Constitution provides...

The government of the United States has never violated anyone’s constitutional rights...
The government of the United States will never violate anyone constitutional rights, because it cannot violate anyone’s constitutional rights. The reason for that is: The government of the United States is that set of actions by public officials that are consistent with the Constitution. Outside of its constitutional powers, the government of the United States has no legitimacy. It has no authority; and, it really even has no existence. It is what lawyers call a legal fiction.

... the famous case Norton v. Shelby County... The Court said: “An unconstitutional act is not a law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties. It is, in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never been passed.”

And that applies to any (and all) governmental action outside of the Constitution...”
What are the defining characteristics of a limited government? They are its disabilities; what it does not have legal authority to do. Look at the First Amendment... What does it do? It guarantees freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of religion. But how does it do that? I quote: “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press” etcetera. “Congress shall make no law;” that’s a statement of an absence of power. That’s a statement of a disability. (end quote of Dr. Vieira) (con't)

Cal said...

(con't) It says it here within the Constitution of the United States of America:

US Constitution, Article I, Section. 8, Clause 11: “To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water”.

The congress has the duty to grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal when they are needed to enforce the US Constitution, the laws, or defend the people and the nation. This is using private citizens in their own privately owned crafts to defend the USA and her people, this is using the Militia.

And again here; Clause 15: “To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel invasions.

This clause is very straightforward also. The militia of each state is taxed with the defense of the USA and her people, not just with the defense of their state; and they are to be armed with weapons that can repel any invasions bearing modern weapons of war. Congress is required to provide those military grade weapons for the militias.

Clause 16: “To provide for organizing, ARMING, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress”.

We let them talk us out of our duty, and install their own, paid for by us, created on England's LE pattern, and now being used against us.

Col. B. Bunny said...

Here's a clarifying quote from a June 2014 Chronicles review of Rethinking the American Union for the Twenty-First Century, by Chilton Williamson (the reviewer):

"[Kent Masterson Brown ] suggests [that] the meaning of the Constitution in respect of the relationship between the central government and the states is so extravagantly clear that neither intellectual density nor even incompetence can explain how the compact theory was gradually overwhelmed and defeated by the nationalist one. It was raw mental and political will that did the trick, abetted by intellectual dishonesty, demagoguery, and sheer mendacity."

A boatload of lies has been offloaded by various Supreme Court judges and professors over the decades about this scheme that the Founders (and Ratifiers) set in place. Highly-paid and fawned-over academic toads have floated ideas like "our living Constitution" which are complete and utter horse feathers. Yet bench, bar, gown, press, and posh lap it up like it was ambrosia.